Saturday, August 04, 2007

AT&T's iPhone: Innovation & Competition at $3,000/mo.

Remember this hilarious headline from AT&T's newsroom: "AT&T, BellSouth to Merge: Combination Will Speed Innovation, Competition and Convergence"? Ever checked out the spartan, utilitarian simplicity of AT&T's Voice Pricing Guidebook?

It's no surprise, then, to see word in Boing Boing of some poor schmoe's $3000 monthly bill from AT&T for a quick international jaunt with his iPhone.

I have a caveat emptor to top them all. I purchased an iPhone on opening day to use in lieu of a cumbersome laptop while traveling in Ireland and England for two weeks in early July. AT&T promises "easy, affordable, and convenient plans" in their advertising...

On the way to the airport, I activated the per-use international roaming data plan - the only one offered to me. The rep quoted me $.005 per KB but did not disclose what that would translate to in layman's language... That's part one of the trap. However, I now pay $40 per month for unlimited data usage on the iPhone, so really -- how much could it be? $100 at the most, right? ...

As we know, the iPhone can't be unlocked to use a European provider's SIM card for more reasonable rates while traveling. There's part two of the trap...

To be safe, I went online to My Account at AT&T a couple days into the trip and again a week later and was told "usage data is currently unavailable"... and that's part three. I had no way of knowing specific usage data until I received my bill over the last weekend.

A bill for $3000.

Yes, innovation, competition and convergence. That's precisely what I think of when someone mentions AT&T.

Boing Boing: ATT + iPhone int'l. roaming data horror story

p.s., I wonder how AT&T's IPTV deployment (code-named "Project Lightspeed") is coming? Hint: here's an availability map.

p.p.s., Ever wondered what else is in the AT&T and iPhone contractual 'fine print'?

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